House prices in Scotland continue to rise, according to official statistics recently published by the Registers of Scotland.

The average residential property price in Scotland for the last quarter of 2014 (to 31st December 2014) was £165,197 – a 3.4% increase on the same period in 2013.  This increase is actually down on the previous 2 quarters, during which the average price increased by over 5%, and indeed the average price is actually down 2.9% on the previous quarter. However, this still is the highest recorded average price for this quarter since the Registers of Scotland began compiling their quarterly statistics in April 2003, and so certainly demonstrates the onward growth in prices.

The average price in Scotland remains lower than the average house price in England and Wales, which was £177,766 in December 2014, according to the Land Registry House Price Index published on 29th January 2015.

The total value of property sold in Scotland during the last quarter of 2013 exceeded £4 billion, and increased by just over 3% from the same period last year.

However, whilst the total value of property, and the average sale price has increased, the actual number of residential properties sold has gone down slightly to 25,413 – a small drop of 0.3% on the same period last year.

So where is the most expensive area in Scotland to buy a property?

The most expensive average price is in Aberdeenshire, with an average price of £232,331, but, for example, if you wished to purchase a detached house, purchasing in the City of Edinburgh would have set you back the most in the last quarter of 2014 – £394,506 – a massive 13.1% increase on the same period in 2013.

By comparison, if you wished to buy a detached house in the Western Isles, the average price was £110,958, allowing you to nearly buy 4 detached properties for the price of one in Edinburgh!  It is a matter of opinion whether or not the house in Edinburgh is worth 4 times as much as one in the Western Isles.

So how do the Highlands compare? 

The average price of a residential property in the Highlands exceeded the national average for the period – the average price being £167,773, an 8% increase on the same period in 2013, and 1.6% above the national average.

The number of properties sold in the Highlands for the period also increased to 1,105, 4% more than the same period last year, although 6.6% less than July to September 2014, although this is not surprising given the seasonal changes.

The total value of property in the Highlands sold for this period was £185,388,747, a 12.3% increase on the same period in 2013.

According to the statistics, there are certainly still some bargains to be had in the Highlands, with the average price of a detached property being £217,597. This is a 9% increase on the same period in 2013, but is still way below the average price for a detached property in Scotland of £241,493.  An average semi-detached property in the Highlands would have set you back £139,912 (Scotland £156,494) and a flat £113,477 (Scotland £126,418).

So what do these statistics tell us?

Of course, there are “lies, damned lies and statistics”!  Indeed, the Office for National Statistics released their December House Price Index on 17th February which showed an average price in Scotland of £193,000, although this only includes homes with a mortgage and so excludes properties purchased with no mortgage and buy-to-let properties.

However, overall, these figures paint a fairly positive picture of the property market around Scotland.  The number of sales have not increased dramatically, but have held at a fairly steady level, and the average price increase is ahead of inflationary levels, but has not reached excessive levels, meaning no “property boom” headlines at the moment!  Average property prices in most areas throughout the country have increased, with Aberdeenshire topping the list of the most expensive areas, although it will be interesting to see what impact the recent turbulence in the oil industry has.

Locally, the statistics for Highland indicate a strong property market, with the number of sales increasing on an annual basis, and the average property values continuing to rise, although remaining well under the average of a number of other areas throughout the country.  On a personal note, I think this just shows the great value for your money to be had with property in the Highlands.

So how do Macleod & MacCallum’s Property Department compare with the “average”?

Achieving an “average” sale price has never been good enough at Macleod & MacCallum – in 2014, no Solicitor Estate Agent sold more properties in the Highlands – for the 6th year in a row.  The average price of a property sold by Macleod & MacCallum in 2014 was just under £180,000, 9% above the national average.

If there is one thing certain from these statistics, it’s that if you want to sell your property for the best price, contact Macleod & MacCallum Property Department.

The full Quarterly House Price Statistical Report from the Registers of Scotland can be viewed here.

February 19, 2015